A few weeks ago, Jason Burke at Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation made a practical argument why MLB owners shouldn’t approve the A’s moving to Vegas. For one thing, Oakland owner/human turd John Fisher would be getting much less public money in Nevada than he would in Oakland. For another, Vegas would be the smallest media market in MLB, and as such the A’s would get revenue-sharing money that they don’t get right now. This is good for Fisher, but not for the big-market teams who will pay him.
Well, MLB owners approved the move anyways. Unanimously.
Sam Fels repeats many of the same points, but with more vitriol: “There will come a time when any of these f*ckwits and failsons will want to hold their own city hostage, or even move like this, or have some proposal that will choke whatever morsel of soul is left in baseball, and they’ll need the approval of their fellow conniving giblets to do so.”
That’s probably part of the reason, absolutely; as Neil deMause keeps reminding us, “the business model for running a sports team, don’t ever forget, isn’t just to use your cartel power to extract money to get a new stadium; it’s to use that power to keep getting more money, again and again, until the sun burns out.”
But also consider Fisher’s recent comments to three A’s fans he met in a hotel lobby at the owners’ meetings: “I just want to let you know I appreciate you guys being here, I appreciate the passion you have shown (…) All that time it’s been a lot worse for me than it’s been for you.”
I’m sure people like Fisher absolutely believe it. They believe that they deserve anything they want, and any objections are irrelevant, since they come from people less awesome than them. I’m sure Sam Bankman-Fried believes it, too.
Naturally, many baseball writers are offering their opinions on the move. My favorite so far is by Gabe Lacques of USA Today, who summarizes the recent history of Fisher’s dumb proposals and dumb team management. Tim Keown of ESPN has the strange news that A’s team president Dave Kaval told him flat-out how the team had been determined to leave Oakland for the last several years.
In any case, there’s quite a few obstacles remaining before Fisher could move the team; namely, coming up with over a billion dollars which he doesn’t want to come up with himself. Nico at our sibling site Athletics Nation has the details, and makes them interesting. (Nico is not the reincarnated Velvet Underground non-singing singer.) There’s also the little matter of no MLB stadium in Las Vegas existing… so where will the team play games? Supposedly, at “a revolving series of sites.”
On the subject of owners wanting ever-more public money, Daily Show guest host Desus Nice (formerly of the popular Desus & Mero program) did a sharp, funny rundown of how this doesn’t work for taxpayers:
Anyways, moving on. Since MLB absolutely loves Vegas and gambling now, they’ll be lifting Pete Rose’s lifetime suspension, right? Nope, Manfred said in July. For a reminder of why American sports leagues used to shun gambling, you can re-watch Eight Men Out. Or read this story of how NBA referee Tim Donaghy got tied up in gambling debts and eventually threw a bunch of games for money; probably including one that helped the Lakers win a championship.
From hockey, a horrible tragedy that shook Northern Minnesota. Former state star Adam Johnson died in a gruesome on-ice accident while playing for a team in England. Thousands gathered at an ice rink in Hibbing recently in remembrance of Johnson, who seems to have been universally-liked. USA youth hockey officials are strongly considering mandatory safety equipment that would reduce the risk of such an injury. Johnson’s friend and former youth coach thinks it’s a great idea.
OK, here’s an actually FUN story.
Mark Viales at Al Jazeera writes about Las Amazonas de Yaxunah, a women’s softball team from the Yucatan consisting entirely of indigenous players, from a region with high levels of poverty. The team plays barefoot, wearing homemade traditional dresses. They’ve become quite popular in Mexican media, with players ranging from 13 to 62 years old.
So them simply playing together is a nice story. The media attention is nice, too, including the Amazonas getting a chance to play this summer in Chase Field, home of the Diamondbacks. And have a player throw out the first pitch at a Diamondbacks game the next day.
(Are the DBacks currently demanding a bazillion dollars in stadium money? Well, yes, they are, but let’s try to have nice things for a minute.)
Finally, in silly Minnesota news, you may have heard we are getting a new state flag. While almost nobody in America could recognize their state flag, symbols have meanings, and the old Minnesota flag has some unfortunate imagery; a generic farmer in the foreground, and a Native on horseback far behind. This, of course, symbolizes the assumption that Natives were rootless nomads, and farmers represented Progress. Also, as historian James Loewen has observed, such images (common in artwork of the period) are inherently inaccurate – since if one person is barely clothed and another fully clothed, someone would either be freezing or boiling in the moment.
Flag submissions were open to the public until October 31, and the state has all those submissions displayed here. Some serious submissions ignored the guidelines, which were to use simple, easily-reproduced colors. Others were by children. Some submissions were clearly jokes, and possibly inspired by John Oliver’s piece about New Zealand’s flag redesign. Many had stars, or loons, or both, and loons are fine, but they’re rarely seen in the Twin Cities, where a majority of Minnesotans live. (While monarch butterflies are all over!)
There’s Morse code, tator-tot hotdish, skyways, a few Soviet hammer-and-sickles (get it, we’re too “socialist”), and unfortunately nothing symbolizing road construction or snow-shovelling. But since I looked at all 2000+ of these things, I get to pick which ones you’re seeing here.
This should replace the loon as the real state bird:
And this is for all the fisherfolks out there, of which I am certifiably not one:
Or this one, which isn’t much of a design, but it exactly steals the new Twins’ cap logo!
You can’t vote on which one Minnesota chooses, and you won’t care which one they pick. But you can vote on these!
What flag best symbolizes all things Minnesota and will definitely be on a 100-foot flagpole outside my house?
This poll is closed
Awful bugs outside
Boring outdoor pastime involving bobbers
Logo ripping off Twins (who were more fun indoors)
Anybody have any other flag ideas? Besides Nick Punto sliding into first?